Semester Abroad in Barcelona


My son was diagnose with UC when he was 15 years old. He tried so many medications throughout the years and was on Prednison for the longest time.

I am from Israel and my husband is from Germany and we live in California for many years.

Our son was diagnosed with UC 5 years ago at age 15. It was a tough time with multiple hospitalization. It was also very challenging to find the right medication…most of the medications only worked for a very short time even thought the doses were high ( like the Humira… he was taking for a while- 2 injection per week…). Through High School he was taking a low dose of Prednisone. That seemed to help a lot but had a visual price… the moon-face that he was so about…

Today he is doing better thanks to a great medication -Entyvio (vedolizumab) that he gets as an infusion once a month.

He is in college and doing well, in remission for several months. Next Semester he would have a wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Barcelona for 3 months. I thought he might be able to take the medication with him and find a doctor / clinic in Barcelona that will give him the medication as infusion, but apparently it might not be possible..
Can I kindly ask for your ideas, how and where can he continue receiving this magical infusion when he is away from the USA?

I contacted as well the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and here are some very good advices:

“It is important to remember that patients can travel with IBD; it is just a matter of planning ahead. It is important that your son to familiarize himself with health care centers in that country. Since he will be there for the semester it will be important to have international medical insurance and find a doctor in Spain.

As you found out, US health insurance companies will not likely pay for the cost of treatment outside of the US unless it is an emergency. You can also request information on a “vacation waiver” from your insurer to see it that might be an option. The out of pocket cost in the US for Entyvio may be as high as $6,100 per vial for many patients. However in Europe it may be more that 50% less than the cost in the US. Some patients weight the cost of travel back to the US for treatment or cost of international health insurance that may cover the medication. If your son decides to fly back for the treatment, you could ask family & friends for “donated travel miles” to help you get him back home for the treatment. Please review your options and also speak with other patients/families who may have made similar choices. To speak with other patients who traveled abroad with a similar situation log onto Campus Connection or our online community at: . There is a travel forum on our community site that may be helpful for you to review.”

So here I am asking for some more advices…any idea?

Thank you so much for all your help,
wishing you all health and happiness
best regards,
Aviv Alberts

health insurance, Spain, study abroad

5 Responses to Semester Abroad in Barcelona

  1. Lorena May 12, 2019 at 7:01 am #

    Hi, try contacting the pharmaceutical company directly. But these processes usually take time to arrange. The suggestion of him traveling back to the US to get treatment and then back to Spain may be a good option and ultimately the less expensive and safest.

    • Aviv A
      Aviv Alberts May 12, 2019 at 9:46 am #

      thank you so much, I will contact the company- great idea!

  2. George May 12, 2019 at 2:46 pm #


    I have no experience with receiving treatment in a foreign country, but since the medication will probably be cheaper in Spain maybe it would be possible for his health insurance to cover the treatment. Traveling back and forth from Spain might takes a toll on your sons body with the jet lag. Maybe ask the University your son attends or the University he will be attending in Spain how to work receiving medication. They must of dealt with this issue before.



  3. Aviv A
    Aviv Alberts May 13, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

    thank you so much, George. Traveling back to the US doesn’t make much sense to me too..

  4. LIza May 14, 2019 at 11:21 pm #

    Hi Aviv:

    Our son had a similar situation this past year. He is also on an injectable medication. We get the medication as usual and we fedex it to him overseas. We bought small cooler packs that holds the ice that the biologic injectable drug that is sent to our house comes with. We found these small cooler packs in the 99 cent store. It originally cost us over $200 to send the first set of drugs but then we found a cheaper option through fedex. My husband is the one that arranged this,
    if you would like more details I will find them out. It has been costly, about $70 per shipment but nothing like flying home! It is wonderful your son will be able to study abroad. It has been the best experience of our son’s life so far!

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